Can you fix it?: We might be poor but we have riches

Last updated 14:38 09/10/2012

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We asked you how to fix the economy and were flooded with responses. We'll be running these in the coming days. To contribute to the debate hit the green button below.

One thing that my wife and I have learned through our experiences in the social services sector is that there will always be someone worse off.

In making that statement, we've also observed people fail, time and again, to do some basic planning for their future. I'm by no way perfect, but when we got married we were two professionals earning enough to put away and pay off a mortgage in Auckland's CBD.

My wife wanted children, so we sat and planned how we were going to do it.

I was going to be the sole bread winner and we needed to move away from Auckland as we knew the cost of living would only rise. She fell pregnant and I got a job in Nelson, her hometown.

I became the sole income earner, starting at $29,000.00 annually. Not much, but still enough.

We now have four daughters, and I'm a sickness beneficiary and my wife is my caregiver.

We live and survive on a benefit and though I am not proud of this, I am proud of us all for chipping in where we need to.

We bottle our own fruit, make our own jam and make our own muesli. We have six hens and very soon I'll be in the garden getting our veges ready to eat and to freeze.

Our daughters, aged 10 - 14, have paper runs and they keep their wages as pocket money.

Even when I was working we maintained this kind of lifestyle because we needed to think of the children's ever increasing school and sport costs.

We bike or walk everywhere, we have hand-me-downs. I had to repair our computer.

We don't have a lot but nor do we miss much. We might be poor but as a family we're rich in all those intangible and special things.

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